Vologda, Russia

Attractions, Monuments, museums and pictures of Vologda

Vologda emblemOn a picturesque coast of the small river Vologda the city with the same name, entering into the Golden ring of Russia is located. Vologda is one of the oldest Russian cities, the first written mention of the city relates to 1147.

There is no exact answer about the origin of the name of this city, there are only assumptions. First ones of Princes in Russia were Vsevolods, and earlier there were Rogvolds and Rogvolgds. Therefore the word root "Vologda" can have Slavic or old-Russian origin, possibly on behalf of a Prince who has built the city. The most popular explanation connects the origin of the name of the city with a word "portage", as local residents on boats used portages of the rivers Sukhonas and Northern Dvina.

The historical arms of Vologda were confirmed on October, 2nd, 1780. On the red board the hand going out of a cloud holding gold power with a silver sword is represented. The modern arms of the city are confirmed on June, 5th, 1997 on the basis of the historical arms, carried out in its motives. Vologda is the wonderful ancient Russian city, which shape represents a harmonious combination of architectural monuments of wooden and stone architecture. On the territory of Vologda there is a set of historically-valuable monuments of culture, which, undoubtedly, does Vologda attractive to tourists of different parts of the world.

History of Vologda
The ancient Russian city of Vologda has arisen in the edge of dense woods, boundless lakes and the pure, crystal clear rivers. On coast of these lakes and the rivers during the prehistoric period ancient Finno-Ugrian tribes lived.

The history of Vologda has begun even before the period of Mongolian rule. Archaeological researches have confirmed the existence of the city in 12 century in these places. Vologda of the twelfth century was a great city with wooden houses. In the city various crafts, basically, joiners and carpenters have been developed. Also great progress has achieved pottery manufacture.

In 13 century Vologda was a part of Novgorod. However, mastered by the people of Novgorod, the North Country rich with fish, game, furs, draws attention of Tver and then Moscow princedoms. So from the end of 13 centuries for Vologda there comes the period of heavy trial. As a result of civil wars the city repeatedly was exposed to attacks and robberies.

In 14 century Vologda becomes large trading and industrial centre. In the city they build churches, new houses are under construction and crafts develop. Not only in the Vologda, but also behind its boundaries the Vologda architects, wood craftsmen are famous. Through Vologda there were goods transferred from the North.

However, intestine struggle for Vologda proceeds. In 1397 Moscow commander Andrey Alberdov conquers Vologda and other Novgorod cities. Vologda passes in submission of the Moscow prince, but the people of Novgorod didn't want to reconcile to defeat, attacked and ruined the former "volost" (traditional administrative subdivision). Further Vologda suffered the twenty year period of struggle for grand-ducal table between Vasily the Dark, his uncle Jury and his two sons Vasily Kosoy and Dmitry Shemjaka.

During the rule of Prince Andrey, the youngest son of Vasily II the city of Vologda turns to the large centre of trade with the Western Europe. According to the contract of 1555 between England and Russia the sea way is created. And in Vologda starts to develop shipbuilding and the crafts connected with it. Englishmen opened their trading office in the city. Under Ivan the terrible decree in 1580 in Vologda twenty big river castles which have been decorated by gold and silver images of dragons, elephants and rhinoceroses were constructed. At that time Vologda was a big city stretched on both coasts of the river.

Tsar Ivan the terrible again and again visited Vologda. He even decided to make the residence in this northern city. At Ivan the Terrible in Vologda the fortifications which have opened the first page in annals of the Vologda monumental building started to be erected. The tsar personally controlled the construction of the fortress and the stone Sofia cathedral. And over the town-planning works was Razmysl Petrov, one of outstanding Russian engineers of 16 centuries.

But the Kremlin remained not completed. In 1571 epidemic called "mortality the great". which has burst across all Russia has come to Vologda. Ivan the Terrible urgently left for capital. And the following liquidation of "oprichnina" (the period of Russian history between Tsar Ivan the Terrible 1565 initiation and his 1572 disbanding of a domestic policy of political police, mass repressions, public executions, and confiscation of land from Russian aristocrats), obviously, changed Ivan the Terrible plans concerning Vologda.

Events of "Time of troubles" appeared a strong devastation for Vologda and its vicinities. On September, 22nd, 1612 the city was conquered by the Polish-Lithuanian aggressors.

Vologda was restored by 1632 after the termination of Distemper. And with accession to the throne of Romanov dynasty the former life again returned to Vologda. In Vologda under the decree of tsar Michael Fedorovich revives more powerful wooden city fortress.

During the reign of Peter the Great the Kremlin of Vologda became the state military base. Tsar Peter stayed in Kremlin during his arrivals to Vologda. Peter the Great during the reign has visited Vologda five times. From the walls of this Kremlin Peter began the Great well-known campaign on Nyuhcha, Povenets, Oreshek. This campaign has ended with a brilliant victory of Russian army over Swedes and the foundation of St.-Petersburg. However city building on Neva and trade development on Baltic Sea has considerably reduced the value of Vologda, having left the city aside from the new trading ways. In 1708 the city was a part of the Arkhangelsk province. Since 1796 Vologda became the independent provincial centre. But gradually Vologda has turned to an ordinary country town.

Trading activity of Vologda has renewed again on a boundary of 19-20 centuries. Goods came from northern cities to Vologda by animal-drawn or a water way and then were sent to Moscow, St.-Petersburg and the neighboring provinces. Towards to them there was another flow of goods. The considerable quantity of ships from the Vologda landing stage went to Arkhangelsk, St.-Petersburg and Great Ustyug. The agricultural production goods were the main subjects of export from the Vologda landing stage.

Since 1870 in Vologda the best sorts of butter have been made. Its producing appeared to be profitable. Butter manufacture began to increase. In 1895 experts of dairy business from Denmark were invited to Vologda. In the city two offices were opened for sending of the Vologda butter abroad.

In the end of 19 centuries through Vologda there passed the railway which connected the northern city with Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Arkhangelsk and Vyatka. In the beginning of 19 centuries in Vologda arose one more craft - lace weaving. The Vologda laces were very popular not only in Russia, but also abroad. The products of Vologda weavers got the highest appreciation at the international exhibitions in Paris, Bruxelles, etc.

In 19 century Vologda shows the traits of a civilized city. In the city bridges are under construction, the first medical institutions, schools, grammar schools, theatre are open. And up to this day wooden and stone private residences, nineteenth century office buildings decorate the city.

In the history of Russian culture many nice pages are directly connected with Vologda. Many well-known figures of literature, art and science became natives of this fine northern city.

Among them there are the well-known artist-batalist V.Vereschagin, the writer V.Giljarovsky, the poet K.Batyushkov.

Sights of Vologda
Welcome to the Kremlin of Vologda! Building of this surprising ancient architectural monument began in 1565 at Ivan the Terrible. The Kremlin complex was under construction for a long time, within several centuries. Therefore constructions of the Kremlin considerably differ from each other - they do not have equal architectural style. On the territory of the Kremlin the Arhierejsky house enclosed by high stone walls is located. It is a complex of constructions of the Vologda archbishops. Nearby there is the monumental Sofia cathedral - the first stone temple of the city. Building of this temple continued from 1568 to 1570 at Ivan the Terrible direct participation on an image of the Uspensky cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. Mosaic art of the temple is the list performed by the Yaroslavl masters under the guidance of glorified Yaroslavl graphics master Dmitry Grigorevich Plehanov.

Opposite to the Sofia cathedral the cathedral raises the 50 meter bell tower. From the viewing platform of the bell tower the magnificent view on Vologda, its sights and vicinities opens.

The second in size of the Kremlin ensemble is the Resurrection cathedral. The cathedral was constructed in 1772-1776 in Baroque style on order of Vologda archbishop Joseph Zolotoy.

On the territory of the Vologda Kremlin fine monuments of wooden architecture are located. Also in the Kremlin there is the museum of local lore, the picture gallery, the exhibition of art subjects and ancient icons.

The Vologda churches are unique sights of the city. Many churches are located on the bank of the river. Dmitry Prilutskiy church on Navolok is on the left coast of the river Vologda. In the most beautiful, picturesque river bend there is the stone church Sretenja on the Quay, constructed in the first half of the 18 century. One of the first two-storey temples of Vologda, the church of John Chrysostom is also on the bank of the river. The shape of the church of Varlaam Hutynsky which is near to the Kremlin area is very interesting and unusual. The church of the sacred apostle Andrew located near "Bridge of the Vologda 800 anniversary"is rich with the collection of ancient icons. Altogether there are about 50 churches in Vologda.

On the entrance to the city from the way leading to Arkhangelsk there is the Spaso-Prilutsky monastery based in 1371 by Dmitry Prilutskiy, the outstanding figure of Russian church in the second half of 14th century, the glorified Russian sacred, heavenly patron of Vologda.

On the monastery territory the wooden Uspensky church is located. It is one of the most ancient monuments of wooden architecture in Russian North.

On a high coast of the river Vologda there is one-storey stone building - "the Petrovsky small house". During the visiting of Vologda from 1692 to 1724 Peter the Great frequently stayed there. The house belonged to Guttmanns, Dutch merchants. For today this building is one of few remained monuments of Vologda civil stone architecture of the end of the eighteenth century.

In the beautiful wooden private residence of the nineteenth century belonging to merchant Panteleev, there is a museum "World of the forgotten things". The museum was opened in 1991. The museum exposition is very interesting - here all breathes olden time and house coziness. In the museum ancient subjects of use, a collection of painting of a noble family mansions are collected. Visiting of this unique museum gives the chance to plunge into the atmosphere of the pre-revolutionary epoch.

The museum of a merchant life "House of the merchant Samarin" has begun its history since 1968. At this time in the museum the first exposition devoted to a political exile has been opened, and was called the museum of Maria Uljanova. Exactly here Uljanova lived during her exile to Vologda. Now the museum is the exposition centre "Vologda on the edge of 19-20 centuries".

At the Petrovsky square in 1998 the monument to poet Nikolay Rubtsov was opened. And in the museum "Literature. Century XX" there is an exhibition devoted to the life and creativity of Nikolay Rubtsov. There are many unique exhibits in the exposition - autographs, photos, personal things of the poet. Special lyricism of the exposition is given by landscape plans of Vologda districts.

Monument of wooden architecture of the nineteenth century is the building where lived the famous Russian aeronautics inventor A.F.Mozhaisk. In this house the first calculations and experiences on flying machine creation - a monoplane have been made. Now there is historical and memorial museum of A.F.Mozhaisk now. The museum exposition represents the contribution of Vologda inhabitants to aircraft and astronautics development. Visitors of the museum get a unique possibility to feel themselves cosmonauts - to sit in a special armchair, to see a special "space" food in tubes.

In 1983 in Vologda the museum-apartment of poet K.N.Batyushkov was created. In this house the remarkable Russian poet, poetic tutor of A.S.Pushkin, the participant of the Patriotic War of 1812 Konstantin Nikolaevich Batyushkov spent his last days. The museum became a place of studying ingenuity of the great poet. And there is the monument to Konstantin Batyushkov on the Cathedral hill visible from the museum windows. The monument was opened in 1987 to the 200 anniversary from the poet date of birth.

There are many established monuments in Vologda and there are several very remarkable among them. For example, the monument to a brick. There is a legend, according to which tsar Ivan the Terrible, having degraded Moscow, arrived to Vologda to make it the capital of Russia. But, absolutely unexpected one brick from the fortification fell down on the head of Ivan the Terrible. The tsar has considered this case as a bad sign and returned to Moscow. Thanks to the Vologda brick, the capital has been transferred not to Vologda, but to St.-Petersburg.

One more bizarre monument of Vologda is the monument to the first city lantern. The monument composition is really amusing. It is a lamppost, full-scale and a mongrel urinating on it. The monument is devoted to the 100 anniversary of electric illumination of the city.

Vologda today
Now Vologda is a regional centre. In the city the transport infrastructure is developed - there is a station and the airport. City hotels are in good condition and comfortable. The city constantly develops according to the changes of the times, renovates and looks younger. On the place of the Vologda waste grounds modern many-storey buildings are under construction, there are the new shopping centers, convenient department stores, stylish cafes and restaurants. Everything makes the city only more attractive to tourists.

In Vologda medium and small businesses are developed. Now the city is large industrial and shopping centre.

Inhabitants of Vologda carefully keep historical and cultural heritage. The ancient city is hidden among the present. The wood got its former popularity in Vologda. First of all it is ancient architectural monuments. But they are not the only ones. In Vologda you can find new wooden residences with a smoke curling over roofs from fireplaces.

A wooden house of Vologda is a really delightful and amazing show! The special beauty and color is given to wooden houses by carved ornaments. Words from a song can be recalled: "In the house, where a carved palisade …" Magnificent wooden architecture is indeed worth making travel to Vologda!

The stone city centre with the houses of 19-20 centuries is also very interesting. And having made lifting to the highest point of Vologda - the bell tower, you can admire the wonderful panorama of the whole city.

And certainly well-known Vologda butter! Its unique gentle-nut taste appears because of variety of herbs in meadows. Only in Vologda you can get the real Vologda butter which is on sale in various beautiful jars and boxes.

And the well-known Vologda laces! This craft arose in the nineteenth century, when by an example of the European samples in Vologda weavers began to make lacy furnish for linen and dresses. Distinctive features of the Vologda lace is the technology of weaving and its original ornament.

Welcome to the surprising and unique northern city of Russia, welcome to Vologda! 

Bell Tower, Vologda
Vologda Photos
Kremlin, Vologda
Resurrection Cathedral, Vologda
Vologda Photos
Samarin's House Museum, Vologda
The World of The Forgotten Things Museum, Vologda
Monument to a Lamppost, Vologda
Monument to Rubtsov, Vologda